Sunday, April 18, 2010

M#28 Abby and the Mystery Baby


Abby comes home from school one day to find an actual, living baby on her front porch. She brings him inside, but isn't sure what to do next. She's home alone, and there's no one around to help her figure the situation out. So, she calls Kristy (of course). Kristy and Nannie come right over, and Kristy gives Sergeant Johnson a call. He shows up just before Abby's mom does, and interviews each one of them about what happened. Mrs. Stevenson seems awfully interested in the blanket the baby was wrapped in, and she manages to convince Sgt. Johnson to let the little guy stay with them until his parents can be found. Abby thinks this, paired with her mother's behavior around the baby, is weird, but she doesn't think much of it. After all, there's a baby in the house!

By the following afternoon, news about little Eli's arrival (the Stevensons are calling the baby Eli for the time being) has spread. Half the neighborhood comes over to visit him, which freaks the kid out. Kristy, Shannon, and Mary Anne herd most of the kids into the Stevenson's kitchen to work on their projects for the BSC's Writing Month, and bring them in one at a time to visit Eli. Later that evening, Abby's reading over what the kids wrote. Most of it is about Eli, but only Maria Kilbourne's story gives her pause. She writes about Eli arriving in a green car...could that be fact? Abby gives Maria a call, and as it turns out, she DID see a green car pull up at the Stevenson's house the day before and drop something off. Sergeant Johnson and a social worker happen to be over at the house just then, meeting with Abby's mother, and Abby decides to interrupt them to tell the Sgt. what Maria saw. Just then, the doorbell rings. There's a rather nervous looking woman waiting, who turns out to be the nanny that Mrs. Stevenson requested to look after Eli while she's at work and the girls are in school.

The BSC decides that they have a real mystery on their hands. They're a little light on suspects; it's pretty much just Erin (the nanny, who seems to like Eli but always acts jittery and nervous around anyone else) and this woman in a writing class that Jessi and Mal are taking. She'd recently written a story about a woman abandoning her baby, and that was enough evidence for Jessi and Mal to start following her around and finding out all they can about her. There's only one piece of real evidence that Abby's found, and that's a reciept from a pharmacy in NYC. On a hunch, Abby calls the pharmacy, pretending to be her mother, and asks for a refill of her prescription. When the pharmacist tells her they don't have a record under the name of Stevenson, Abby asks them to check her mom's maiden name - Goldberg. They have a record for an M. Goldberg...not Abby's mom.

Speaking of, Mrs. Stevenson is still acting strangely, and Anna's noticed it, too. One afternoon, she just takes off without telling her daughters where she's going. This isn't like her, so Abby does some investigating. She goes into her mother's study and finds a post-it note on her desk with a name written on it: Miriam. That's when Abby starts to put two and two together: the prescription reciept was for M. Goldberg, and Miriam Goldberg is her mother's sister, who hasn't been in touch with the family for years. Abby and Anna look through old photo ablums to find pictures of their long lost aunt, but the only ones they come up with are old...from childhood. In one of them, Miriam is holding a blanket that's identical to the one that Eli was wrapped it. Remembering how oddly her mother had looked at that blanket, Abby starts to wonder if Miriam might be Eli's mother. Abby races back to her mother's study, and redials the last number. A receptionist at a hospital in NYC answers, and on a hunch, Abby asks for Miriam Goldberg. She's definitely a patient there, so Abby makes up her mind to go to NYC and get the answers she's looking for. When she arrives at the hospital, she finds her mother in a hospital room with her aunt Miriam. She'd been cut off from the family for years, because her parents didn't like the man she was seeing and wouldn't have anything to do with her as long as they were together. Mr. Stevenson had gotten sick of bailing her little sister out of her messes, which was why SHE cut Miriam out of her life. Eli (whose name is actually Daniel) is definitely Miriam's baby, but she'd broken up with her awful boyfriend/baby daddy before he was born. Miriam had been in a rough financial situation for a long time, but she hadn't wanted to ask her family for help. Then, she started to get really sick (she's diabetic) and decided to ask her sister to take care of little Daniel for awhile. When she got to the Stevensons and found no one at home, she left the baby on the porch with a note (Abby never saw it, but her mother found it). Mrs. Stevenson has suspected all along that her sister might have left the baby, which is why it was so easy for her to convince the authorities to leave Daniel with them. Miriam is on the road to recovery,and ends up reunited with her whole family.

Rating: 2.5

Thoughts and Things
  • Would it really be so easy for a woman who abandoned her baby to get him back? I would think there'd have to be some sort of process, regardless of the reason that the kid was given up of where he was left.
  • It's strongly suggested that Miriam was never married to Daniel's father. Pretty scandalous for a BSC book. Normally, the ghosties go out of their way to mention that single parents have either been divorced or lost a spouse.
  • At the beginning of chapter 4, Claudia is picking all the Special Dark bars out of a bag of Hershey's Miniatures. Am I the only one who would have pegged her as a Krackle girl?
  • I wonder how much it cost Abby to take a cab to the Stoneybrook train station, buy a ticket to NYC, and then take a taxi to the hospital. Also, did she just buy a one way train ticket? She had no way of knowing for sure that her mother would be there, willing to drive her home.


  1. Never read this one, although I have wondered about it. Good post!

  2. Am I missing something? Why didn't Mrs. Stevenson just tell the girls that Daniel was their cousin? And wouldn't the note have said that the baby was called Daniel, not Eli? And even if no one is home, who just leaves their kid on the front porch? Anything might have happened! I think Aunt Miriam might have a screw loose.

  3. What an unrealistic story- if you cared for your child's welfare you don't just leave it on a porch! And you certainly don't get your baby back straight away when you decide that you actually do want it after you have abandoned it!

  4. But she didn't mean to abandon him. She was going to ask her big sister for help when she was too sick to care for him.
    I did feel awful for baby Daniel knowing he would grow up without ever meeting his father.